A well-behaved dog is a happy and healthy dog. Not only do good pet manners help keep your pet under control, but they help keep your pet safe. When your pet is well-behaved, taking your dog with you is more manageable, giving your dog more socialization. When it comes to choosing obedience training options, many people will debate group lessons versus private lessons. Is one better than the other, and which should you choose? Below, let’s look at the pros and cons of group lessons and individual instruction to help better understand each option.
Benefits of Group Classes
Attending group obedience classes with your dog is a wonderful way to tackle training and allow your dog to learn new behaviors. Group classes are popular with dog owners, and for a good reason. Often, group classes are the cheaper option and allow you to come and go as you please. If you can’t attend one week’s training class, you can simply pick up where you left off the following week. Plus, group classes are the perfect way to socialize with your dog and allow them to become accustomed to several dogs in the same room.
Another great benefit of group classes is that it allows your dog to meet all different types of dogs. There will be big, small, loud, and shy dogs, all attending the same class. It is important to note that group classes are not just for beginners. Many training facilities and obedience schools will offer group obedience lessons for beginner puppies through advanced courses for adult dogs.
Cons of Group Classes
Although group classes have several excellent benefits associated with them, there are some downsides. It can be challenging to get the specialized, one-on-one attention you need in a large group class. Further, if you have a dog with specific behavioral challenges, entering a chaotic group class may not be the best option, at least initially. Group classes rely on a significant amount of homework on the owners’ part too. Often, group classes will simply teach you the motion or command and depend on you to practice the new behavior at home.
Benefits of Individual Training
The alternative to a group class is individualized one-on-one training for your dog. This training involves just you, your dog, and a professional dog trainer. One-on-one training is a wonderful way to home in on specific behaviors or challenges your dog may have. The trainer will exclusively work with your dog, allowing the trainer to understand the best way to teach your dog and get the best results from training.
Individualized training is excellent for beginners or advanced dogs learning new techniques or behaviors. Plus, the one-on-one training allows you to work around your schedule, making a training appointment when it is most convenient for you. Classes are successive and build on one another, really giving you and your pet the opportunity to learn in a focused and dedicated learning environment.
Cons of Individual Training
The elephant in the room regarding individualized training is that one-on-one lessons can become expensive, especially if the classes are prolonged. Of course, individualized training addresses your dog’s personal needs but doesn’t allow your dog the same opportunity to socialize with other dogs. Further, individual training can be challenging to find, and appointments can be hard to schedule with popular trainers.
When it comes down to it, choosing individual training or group classes is a preference for you and your pet. You know your pet better than anyone and understand which training option will allow your pet to become the most successful. A popular alternative for training is combining individual training and group classes to create a hybrid, customized training program. Challenging dogs may benefit from personal training at first before migrating to a group class. In contrast, owners that want to perfect certain behaviors may opt for group classes with individual training after really polishing their dog’s obedience.